The first World Sufi Forum or the Bain-ul-Aqwami Sufi Conference took place with a new ray of hope in New Delhi. Organised by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, the forum was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 4 day conference took place at New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, from 17th to 20th March, 2016. The conference is aimed to discuss the issues of extremism and find ways to work out effective counter-narratives.
Inaugurating the event, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recounted the rich Sufi tradition of India and emphasized the 'Ganga Jamuni Tahzeeb' of India in his inaugural address. He called the brotherhood and love essential spirit of India.
Addressing the World Sufi Forum where shouts of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ rang out repeatedly as the Indian Prime Minister said, “when we think of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence, and that the first two names denote compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Raheem”. Adding that, “At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the Noor, or the light of hope. When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals… You have come from different lands and cultures, but you are united by a common faith. You speak different languages, but they blend together in a message of harmony. And, you represent the rich diversity of the Islamic civilisation that stands on the solid bedrock of a great religion”. The Indian Prime Minister also said that while terrorism divides and destroys, message of Sufism find more relevance and resonance all over the world. From Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti to the revered scholar Ameer Khusro, all found liberal mention in the Indian Prime Minister’s speech. The views of PM were also echoed by several scholars, who attended the event. Around 200 Sufi scholars, from across 20 countries have converged in the capital city, hoping to impart the message of peace and unconditional love.
With a number of Sufi-minded Islamic scholars, intellectuals, social activists and grass-roots workers, having attended the event, it is expected to propagate more constructive ways spreading the Islamic message of peace and tolerance as a counter-attack on the constantly rising global violent extremism. Such event indeed holds relevance at such pressing times to ease tensions and promote religious harmony - More importantly, when these days the Sufi version of Islam is also being increasingly targeted by the theocratic Islamic hard-liners. Sufi saints such as Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Nizamuddin Auliya, Bulleh Shah, Haji Ali, etc have been very popular among there devotees, across religions in India.